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Poster: ned the head Date: Jun 30, 2009 8:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: I'd swear to it on my very soul, if I lie may I fall down cold

An interesting exercise in determining which version this is...
First, the dichotomies;
fortunately they only played it four times making comparison much easier than songs played in excess, but it really is a great song that could have stood at least a few more performances. The obvious route would be to search for Jerry messing up the lyrics, but darn it, he does pretty well on all four versions.
I used the lyrics at this site as a template;

http://www.whitegum.com/introjs.htm?/songfile/REUBEN.HTM

I've noted four areas to look at and numbered them accordingly

Cérise was brushing her long hair gently down
It was the afternoon of Carnival
As she brushes it gently down

Reuben was strumming his painted mandolin
It was enlaid with a pretty face in jade
Played the Carnival Parade

Cérise was dressing as Pirouette in white
When a fatal vision gripped her tight
Cérise, beware tonight

Reuben, Reuben, tell me truly true
I feel afraid and I don't know why I do
Is there another girl for you

If you could see in my heart
You would know it's true
There is none, Cérise, except for you
Except for you
I swear to it on my very soul
If I lie may I fall down cold

When Reuben played on his painted mandolin
(1)The breeze would stop and listen in
Before going its way again

Masquerade began when nightfall finally woke
Like waves against the bandstand dancers broke
To the painted mandolin

Looking out on the crowd, who is standing there?
Sweet Ruby Claire at Reuben stared
At Reuben stared
She was dressed as Pirouette in red
And her hair hung gently down

(2)The crowd pressed round, Ruby stood as though alone
Reuben's song took on a different tone
And he played it just for her

The song that he played was the Carnival Parade
Each note cut a thread of Cérise's fate
It cut through like a blade

Reuben was playing his painted mandolin
When Ruby froze and turned to stone
For the strings played all alone

The voice of Cérise from the face of the mandolin
Singing Reuben, Reuben, tell me true
For I have no one but you

If you could see my heart
You would know it's true
There is none, Cérise, except for you
Except for you
I swear to it on my very soul
If I lie, may I fall down cold

(3)The truth of love an unsung song must tell
The course of love must follow blind
Without a look behind

Reuben walked the streets of New Orleans till dawn
(4)Cérise so lightly in his arms
And her hair hung gently down

(1)(A)on the dvd instead of stop he sings pause, but it's not too clear, like he hesitates
(B)3-17-91 Cap he sings pause clearly
(C)3-27-91 Nassau he sings pause
(D)4-7-91 Orlando he sings pause but not too clear
(E)6-9-91 Buckeye he clearly sings pause

(2)(A)stood instead of pressed
(B)pressed
(C)pressed
(D)stood? clearly not pressed
(E)pressed

(3)(A)sings course? of love
(B)not truth but clearly not course
(C)song of love
(D)course
(E)truth

(4)(A)lightly in his arms
(B)lightly
(C)lightly
(D)lightly
(E)not sure but not lightly

so...apparently it's 4-7-91

what really stood out to me after listening to this song so many times is that it's a song about a possessed musical instrument like Oh the wind and rain or even Stella Blue.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jun 30, 2009 8:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'd swear to it on my very soul, if I lie may I fall down cold

Or is it a metaphor for his relationship and love for the music? Either way what I find great is he ultimately picks his true love, the love for his instrument ( no not that one ) over the girl.